A tough night at Scotstoun saw Cardiff Blues lose two games on the bounce in the Guinness Pro14, going down to Glasgow Warriors in a tightly contested affair.
Both sides were looking to get their seasons going properly, with the hosts having lose both their opening games, while John Mulvihill’s men had suffered a disappointing defeat at home to Edinburgh the week before.
On the back of that two changes had been made to starting XV, with Kris Dacey and Liam Belcher exchanging places at hooker, while Will Boyde and Nick Williams did the same at number eight. Lloyd Williams captained the side from scrum-half.
However, the changes could do nothing to prevent what was a disastrous start for Cardiff Blues, which would ultimately cost us the game, as Glasgow scored two tries in the opening 10 minutes.
Missed tackles had been an issue against Edinburgh and they were prevalent again in the early exchanges at Scotstoun as Nick Grigg carried into our 22, somewhere the hosts would not leave for the next five minutes.
Some good goal line defence from Cardiff Blues kept the scores level for a short time, but eventually the driving maul did the trick as Glasgow captain Callum Gibbins grabbed the opening try of the game, with Brandon Thomson converting.
The second try was a case of all two easy for the Scottish side, with Thomson putting Grigg through a big gap in the defensive line and scrum-half Nick Frisby providing support to score the second try of the game early on, with Thomson again on target off the tee.
With memories of last season’s games in the Heineken Cup at the Arms Park and in the Pro14 at Scotstoun, where Glasgow had racked up try bonus points before half-time, coming flooding back, the worst was feared for the visitors at this point.
Fortunately Olly Robinson, who was uncharacteristically quiet against Edinburgh last week, returned to form with a bang in this game and secured a brilliant turnover to finally get Cardiff Blues some decent possession and territory.
It was a first phase strike play that once again did the trick, with Jarrod Evans brilliant delaying a pass for Aled Summerhill to go through a gap and over for his first try of the season.
Evans kicked the conversion, and added a penalty shortly after as Robinson continued to be an absolute pest at the breakdown, disrupting Glasgow right across the field.
Unfortunately, despite dominating possession and territory throughout the last 15 minutes of the first half, Cardiff Blues just could not convert pressure into points, lacking patience and accuracy when going through phases in the opposition 22, as well as a cutting edge to break the defence down.
Thomson and Evans traded penalties early in the second half, but Glasgow continued to grow into the game, and set up camp in our 22 once again.
However, some terrific goal line defence and a superb bit of work by Will Boyde to hold the ball up over the line from another driving maul, managed to prevent the home side extending their lead and set up a thrilling final 20 minutes.
Cardiff Blues could sense a victory now, but once again handling and a lack of incisive attack let us down, with more tries being left out on the field.
Perhaps the best chance came with 15 minutes to go when Jason Tovey got the ball to Summerhill who beat two defenders on the outside. He was pulled down by the cover defence, but some poor structure when switching possession back to the opposite wing saw Rory Thornton and Seb Davies blow the chance.
Thornton would again be in the thick of the action with 10 minutes to go, picking up a yellow card after making a tackle on a player in the air, and although Cardiff Blues managed to stay competitive despite the numerical disadvantage, could not do more than earn a losing bonus point.
On the night it was a disappointment to not come away with a win, with a real feeling that at least two tries had been left out on the field at Scotstoun, with a lack of attacking accuracy, patience and cutting edge to blame as we failed to convert pressure into points.
If someone had said after last week though, that Cardiff Blues would come away from Glasgow with a losing bonus point after a much improved performance, then it would have been very difficult to imagine.
Credit to the players and coaches for working hard to rectify many of the problems that appeared against Edinburgh, with two weeks now to improve the attacking game and tune other areas before a tricky trip to Ulster.